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Carolyn Kelly

Carolyn Kelly was interviewed on October 30, 1991 by Dan O'Neill in a conference room at the Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks, Alaska. The location was selected because it was close to where Carolyn worked, and because she said her husband held strong anti-Park Service views that it would be easier for her to speak freely on "neutral ground" rather than at their home. Dan O'Neill was put in touch with Carolyn by Karen Kallen-Brown. In this interview, Carolyn talks about living a subsistence lifestyle in a remote cabin in the area of what is now Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. She describes the "river people's" society, their daily life and seasonal round of activities, raising a child in this remote location, and the division of labor between men and women. She also talks about moving into the community of Eagle, Alaska, conflict with the National Park Service over land use, subsistence, and resource management issues, and impacts of losing this particular lifestyle.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-47

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Oct 30, 1991
Narrator(s): Carolyn Kelly
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background and coming to Alaska

2) Moving out to the country

3) The area regarded necessary to subsist, and mixed attitudes of the "river people" towards newcomers

4) River people's "society"

5) Philosophy about moving to the wilderness, and the level of technology they would employ

6) Getting into dogs, and what they learned about how many dogs they could support

7) Having a child at Sam Creek

8) The Andrew Creek cabin, the daily routine, and the division of labor

9) How the division of labor in a household, especially one with young children, tended to isolate the female partner

10) How life was rigidly "tied to the seasons and the river" for both partners

11) Opportunities, and occasions for visiting

12) Income from trapping, and their diet

13) Factors that influenced their decision to move into Eagle

14) Her changing attitudes towards the National Park Service

15) How the National Park Service has damaged values they were meant to protect

16) Bureaucracy "feeding on itself''

17) Values and opportunities she believes should be preserved

18) Importance of her life on the river in terms of prioritizing activities and defining happiness

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Section 1: Kelly, Carolyn\ Santa Rosa, California\ Tatalina River\ Tolovana River\ Beaver Creek\ Eagle\ Andrew Flat\ cabins - Sam Creek\ Chester Bluff\ cabins - site selection\ Kidd, Charlie\ Charley River\ Coal Creek\ Smith, Richard\ Moore, Zach|

Section 2: Moore, George\ Stewart Lake, British Columbia?\ Nugget Creek\ dogs - necessity of fish\ salmon - necessity of\ Mission Creek\ Potts, Mike\ break-up - story\ canoes\ hunting - bear\ bush living - income\ bush living - gear\ Boone, Jack\ Boone, Jean\ Taylor Highway|

Section 3: Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ subsistence - acreage needed\ river people - site selection\ Andrew Creek\ river people - attitudes|

Section 4: dogs and equipment\ gatherings and visiting\ dogs - type of\ dogs - sleds\ river people - homogeneity\ Smith, Richard\ Kidd, Charlie\ Booth, Dell - Coal Creek\ barges - Circle\ bush living - supplies\ Wilson, Errol\ Wilson, Barb\ river people - celebrations\ equinox celebration\ Brown, Randy\ river people - visiting|

Section 5: 1960's attitudes\ 1970's attitudes\ hand tools\ snowmachines - attitudes towards\ bush living - level of technology\ plastics - utility of\ river people - purism\ Andrew Creek\ river - scavenging from\ bush living - scavenged materials\ level of technology - philosophy\ noise - determining factor\ smell - determining factor\ river people - shared values\ Moore, George\ bush living - preconceptions|

Section 6: Kelly, Carolyn\ Moore, George\ dog teams - size\ Evans, Dave\ dogs - lining canoes\ Moore, Zach|

Section 7: Kelly, Carolyn\ Wilson, Errol\ Wilson, Barb\ Wilson, Willow\ Able, Jan\ Able, Seymour\ Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ Moore, Zach\ babies - supplies\ spiritual midwifery\ child birth - home birth\ Smith, Richard\ Kidd, Charlie\ Bell, Arlene\ snowshoe baby carrier\ Booth, Dell\ trip - story\ airplane accident - story\ Coal Creek Roadhouse|

Section 8: cabins - Andrew Creek\ cabin construction - Andrew Creek\ Moore, George\ trapping - Sam Creek\ getting water\ washing diapers\ firewood\ household chores\ child care\ cooking\ recreation - reading\ bush living - daily routine\ bush living - radio shows\ recreation - radio\ "Trapline Chatter"\ snaring - rabbits\ trapping - division of labor\ travel and transportation - snowshoes\ dog racing|

Section 9: bush living - women with children\ women with children - isolation\ river people - visiting\ travel - women\ river people - women\ bush living - gender roles|

Section 10: dogs - responsibility for\ dogs - chores relating to\ seasonal round - routine\ river people - seasonal round\ fishing - salmon runs\ travel - resupply\ trapping - season\ moose hunting - season\ subsistence lifestyle - restrictive aspects|

Section 11: visiting - winter\ Traynor, Jean\ Ricketts, Larry\ Kandik River\ Kidd, Charlie\ Traynor, Jane\ Woodruff, Don\ Wilson, Errol\ Wilson, Barb\ Able, Jan\ Able, Seymour\ Brown, Randy\ Bell, Ray\ Bell, Arlene\ Coal Creek camp - Fourth of July\ gatherings - Fourth of July|

Section 12: bush living - income\ trapping - lynx\ snaring - lynx\ lynx\ mink\ marten\ wolverine\ lynx - preparation as food\ moose\ moose meat - preparation\ fat - rendering\ bear\ spring - meat supply\ bush living - foods\ waterfowl\ peanut butter\ Yukon River - geese|

Section 13: bush living - illnesses\ bush living - isolation\ Moore, Zach\ Kelly, Carolyn\ lifestyle - changing priorities\ Eagle\ National Park Service - Coal Creek Roadhouse\ Coal Creek - NPS presence\ National Park Service - impact\ bush living - floods\ river people - attitudes toward NPS\ land status - changing\ cabin sites - fear of eviction\ cabin permits|

Section 14: conservation - values\ Sierra Club\ preservation - environment\ National Park Service - impact\ National Park Service - insensitivity\ National Park Service - as polluters\ Yukon-Charley - jobs\ Yukon-Charley - visitors\ wilderness - visitor experiences\ National Park Service presence - "Disneyland"\ National Park Service - level of technology|

Section 15: National Park Service - impact\ National Park Service - work force\ noise pollution\ Yukon-Charley - visitor promotion\ park visitors - mentality\ Yukon-Charley - changing character\ Denali - "manicured"|

Section 16: Yukon-Charley - personnel\ Yukon-Charley - headquarters\ Coal Creek Roadhouse - NPS presence\ Chase, Don\ Yukon-Charley - funding\ Eagle - attitudes|

Section 17: Kelly, Carolyn\ D-2 lands\ Bureau of Land Management - upper Yukon planning\ Rampart Dam\ Circle-Eagle Road\ Moore, George\ Moore, Zach\ subsistence lifestyle - opportunities to pursue\ lifestyle - historical continuum\ bush living - importance\ MacGregor, George\ ANILCA - intent|

Section 18: Kelly, Carolyn\ self-sufficiency\ confidence\ bush living - importance\ land - intangible values\ lifestyle - priorities\ argument with NPS employee - story\ subsistence lifestyle - impact on environment\ man-in-nature - part of cycle|